The Ledes

Friday, October 31, 2014.

Reuters: "The ringleader of a beating ritual that led to the death of a Florida college marching band member was convicted on Friday of manslaughter and felony hazing, the first case to go to trial in an incident that drew national attention to hazing abuses. A jury convicted percussionist Dante Martin, 27, for his role in a November 2011 ritual involving the Florida A&M University's celebrated 'Marching 100' band that led to the death of Robert Champion, a 26-year-old drum major." ...

... CW: Why are these college students so old?

Los Angeles Times: "Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, part of a commercial space venture founded by British billionaire Richard Branson, crashed during testing Friday, according to a Mojave Air and Space Port spokesperson and the FAA. At least one person was killed." MSNBC is saying two were injured as well.

New York Times: "Less than a day after restricting the movements of a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa, a judge in Maine has lifted the measures, rejecting arguments by the State of Maine that a quarantine was necessary to protect the public. Within an hour of the decision, state troopers who had been parked outside the nurse’s house for days had left. The order, signed on Friday by Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere, the chief judge for the Maine District Courts who serves in Kennebec and Somerset counties, said the nurse, Kaci Hickox, 'currently does not show symptoms of Ebola and is therefore not infectious.' The order requires Ms. Hickox to submit to daily monitoring for symptoms, to coordinate her travel with state health officials, and to notify them immediately if symptoms appear. Ms. Hickox has agreed to follow the requirements.” Thanks to James S. for the link.

AP: "Eric Frein, 31, appeared gaunt and battered as he answered yes or no questions and listened as a judge read the criminal complaint detailing the Sept. 12 attack that killed Cpl. Bryon Dickson and critically wounded Trooper Alex Douglass."

Washington Post: "Russia agreed Thursday to resume selling natural gas to Ukraine, ending a cutoff.... The stopgap deal will secure critical energy supplies for Ukraine through March and will also help assure European countries that their own natural gas supply will not be disrupted during chilly winter months."

The Wires

The Ledes

Thursday, October 30, 2014.

Philadelphia Inquirer: "Eric Frein, the suspected cop-killer who for six weeks has been the target of a Poconos manhunt involving more than 1,000 law-enforcement officers, surrendered Thursday without incident, officials said.Frein, accused of killing one trooper and wounding a second, was captured in an unused airplane hangar at the Pocono Mountains municipal airport just outside of Tannersville, two sources confirmed. He was unarmed and surrendered when confronted by a search team led by U.S. Marshals, the sources said."

Washington Post: "The U.S. economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate between July and September, the government said Thursday morning, providing fresh hope that a wobbly recovery could be gaining some stability. The latest gross domestic product figure, released by the Commerce Department, slightly exceeded analyst predictions and caps America’s strongest six-month period of expansion since 2003."

Boston Globe: "Thomas Michael Menino, who insisted a mayor doesn’t need a grand vision to lead, then went on to shepherd Boston’s economy and shape the skyline and the very identity of the city he loved through an unprecedented five consecutive terms in City Hall, died Thursday. He was 71 and was diagnosed with advanced cancer not long after leaving office at the beginning of this year."

New York Times: "The Israeli authorities closed off all access to a contested holy site in the Old City here on Thursday for the first time in years, a step that a Palestinian spokesman denounced as amounting to 'a declaration of war.' The action came after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man who was suspected of involvement in an attempt on Wednesday to assassinate a leading agitator for more Jewish access to the site, which Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. The closure prevented Muslims from worshiping at Al Aksa mosque, one of the three holiest sites in Islam." ...

     ... UPDATE. New Lede: "Under heavy pressure and the threat of new Israeli-Palestinian strife, Israel announced on Thursday that it would reopen a contested holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday morning, a day after closing it for the first time in years."

Guardian: "Nato aircraft have been scrambled to shadow Russian strategic bombers over the Atlantic and Black Sea and fighter planes over the Baltic in what the western alliance called an unusual burst of activity as tensions remain elevated because of the situation in Ukraine. In all, Nato said, its jets intercepted four groups of Russian aircraft in about 24 hours since Tuesday and some were still on manoeuvres late on Wednesday afternoon. 'These sizeable Russian flights represent an unusual level of air activity over European air space,' the alliance said."

Sports Illustrated: The San Francisco Giants are once again the champions of baseball. On Wednesday night, the Giants downed the Royals, 3-2, in Game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City to capture the team's third title since 2010."

Public Service Announcement

Washington Post, September 17: "Artificial sweeteners might be triggering higher blood-sugar levels in some people and contributing to the problems they were designed to combat, such as diabetes and obesity, according to new findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

New York Times, September 1: "People who avoid carbohydrates and eat more fat, even saturated fat, lose more body fat and have fewer cardiovascular risks than people who follow the low-fat diet that health authorities have favored for decades, a major new study [financed by the N.I.H.] shows."

White House Live Video
October 31

9:15 am ET: President Obama & Michelle Obama greet the kids for trick or treat (CW: looks like the time is wrong on this; the video has a countdown which shows the event won't occur for about 8 hours)

11:10 am ET: President Obama speaks about the economy

If you don't see the livefeed here, go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.

***********************************************

Rolling Stone: Jon Stewart that NBC News approached him about hosting "Meet the Press.": "My guess is they were casting as wide and as weird a net as they could. I'm sure part of them was thinking, 'Why don't we just make it a variety show?'"

We're Fairly Wonderful, and the Boss Sucks. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Jeremy Scahill & John Cook: "Matt Taibbi, who joined First Look Media just seven months ago, left the company on Tuesday. His departure ... was the culmination of months of contentious disputes with First Look founder Pierre Omidyar, chief operating officer Randy Ching, and president John Temple over the structure and management of Racket, the digital magazine Taibbi was hired to create. Those disputes were exacerbated by a recent complaint from a Racket employee about Taibbi’s behavior as a manager." ...

... CW: This article is an extraordinary exercise in using a publication's content to bitch about the publication's financial backer. Let's see if Omidyar just takes his own money & runs.

He Took the Money & Ran. New York Times: When Credit Suisse erroneously dropped $1.5MM in the business account of hedge-fund manager Joseph Galbraith, Galbraith kept the money & has moved to parts unknown. He has not completely disappeared as he's had contact with the New York Times (directly or indirectly): in an e-mail he called Credit Suisse's suit against him “ridiculous, bordering on laughable.”

Andrew Rice of New York: "Matt Taibbi, the star magazine writer hired earlier this year to start a satirical website for billionaire Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, is on a leave of absence from the company after disagreements with higher-ups inside Omidyar's organization, a source close to First Look confirmed today. Taibbi's abrupt disappearance from the company's Fifth Avenue headquarters has cast doubt on the fate of his highly anticipated digital publication, reportedly to be called Racket, which First Look executives had previously said would launch sometime this autumn." CW: Ah, "creative differences." ...

     ... "UPDATE: Taibbi has left the company."

Ancient Grains! Jeez, people will buy anything. CW PS: Unless you're a scientist with specific knowledge about the benefits of ancient grains as opposed to say, oats, don't write in & bitch about my ignorance. We all have our pet peeves, rational & irrational. Fad foods -- in fact, fads in general -- are one of mine.

Washington Post: A "virtual autopsy" of King Tut suggests the boy king had "buck teeth, club foot and a pronounced overbite."

Stephen Colbert describes his workday:


No Surprise Here. Valerie Tarico of AlterNet, in Salon: "... online search traffic from behind closed doors in Jesusland suggests that the bad, nasty, sexual impulses righteous believers are trying so hard to shut down may be their own. And if Google search patterns mean anything, they’re not succeeding too well: studies consistently demonstrate that people in conservative religious states search for adult materials online far more often than people in blue states."

Jeffrey Frank reviews, for the New Yorker, a new biography of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith. The review is fairly entertaining & informative.

Michael Cieply of the New York Times: "... several of the companies behind 'Citizenfour' — which takes issue with Mr. Obama’s expansion of Bush-era surveillance, and his administration’s attempt to prosecute [Edward] Snowden for espionage — are led by some of the president’s close political allies. They include Harvey Weinstein, the Weinstein Company’s co-chairman, as well as Jeff Skoll, the founder of Participant Media, and Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, who all have been major contributors to Mr. Obama’s political campaigns."

Washington Post: "President Obama's credit card was rejected last month at a restaurant in New York. 'I went to a restaurant up in New York when I was -- during the U.N. General Assembly, and my credit card was rejected,' Obama said Friday while signing an executive order to protect consumers from identity theft. 'It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough. They were -- they thought there was some fraud going on. Fortunately, Michelle had hers.'"

"Who's Gonna Stand Up & Save the Earth?" Not Stephen Colbert:

Novelist John Grisham recants his apologia for child porn. Good to know.

New York Times: "CBS announced a new subscription Internet streaming service on Thursday that allows people to watch its live television programming and thousands of its current and past shows on demand without paying for a traditional TV subscription. The new 'CBS All Access' service, costing $5.99 a month, is the first time that a traditional broadcaster will make a near-continuous live feed of its local stations available over the web to non-pay-TV subscribers. At its start, the live stream will be available in 14 markets in the United States." ...

... New York Times: "HBO announced Wednesday that it would start a stand-alone Internet streaming service in the United States in 2015 that would not require a subscription to a traditional television service, a move that intensifies the premium cable network’s growing rivalry with Netflix. Just hours after HBO unveiled plans for its new service, Netflix announced that its subscriber growth was slower than expected...."

Joe Coscarelli of New York: "Following its initial mercy killing at the hands of Jon Stewart, Crossfire was rebooted last year with Newt Gingrich and Van Jones to dismal returns..., CNN ... scrapped it for good today [October 15] so that Newt can spend more time with his animals — and hopefully run for president again."

Joe Concha of Mediaite: "A well-placed source tells me MSNBC will be announcing major programming changes sometime in the next month, including the cancellation of Ronan Farrow‘s afternoon program, Ronan Farrow Daily." CW: I've caught a few minutes of Farrow's show a couple of times, & it was clear the guy was in way over his head. His performance was as embarrassing as the Russert kid's, though he isn't an obnoxious bro in the Russert-kid mold. I'm not sure if the suits will ever figure out that legacies & children-of-famous-people are usually not the best & brightest, perhaps because a lot of the suits themselves are legacies.

Philip Shenon in Politico Magazine: "If even Robert Kennedy was a conspiracy theorist, it is hard to see how millions of other Americans will ever be convinced to accept that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone."

Bill Carter of the New York Times: "MSNBC has seen its ratings hit one of the deepest skids in its history, with the recently completed third quarter of 2014 generating some record lows."

Snowden, The Movie:

... AND, Snowden's girlfriend is living with him in a Moscow apartment. David Harding of the New York Daily News: "His girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, moved into his apartment in the Russian capital in July, a detail that was revealed in the new documentary, 'Citizenfour.'” ...

... George Packer of the New Yorker on Laura Poitras & making the film "Citizenfour." ...

... Steven Zeitchik of the Los Angeles Times discusses the film. He attended the premiere at the New York Film Festival, where the documentary got a rare standing O. CW: I'm kinda sensing that "Citizenfour" can best be described as "documentary as hagiography." And, yes, I'm definitely seeing an Oscar here. Call me an oracle.

 

 

A video for Marco I'm-Not-a-Scientist-Man Rubio & Bobby I'm-Not-an-Evolutionary-Biologist Jindal, & all their non-scientist Republican friends:

"An FBI wanted poster shows William Bradford Bishop Jr. The image on the left shows how Bishop would look now. (Getty)"Dan Morse of the Washington Post: "For nearly 40 years, the legend of Bethesda fugitive William Bradford Bishop Jr. carried an air of not just evil brutality but refined sophistication. This was a man suspected of killing his family with a small sledgehammer in 1976 and setting their corpses on fire. Then he vanished, taking with him fluency in five languages, the experience of a world traveler for the State Department, and a fondness for playing tennis, flying airplanes and drinking Scotch. There were alleged sightings: a public park in Stockholm, a restroom in Sorrento, Italy, a train station in Basel, Switzerland. Now, in a potentiality stunning development in the case — centered in a municipally owned cemetery in the northeastern corner of Alabama — remains that were exhumed Thursday may tell a different story. Bishop could be the heretofore unidentified man called John Doe, who was struck by a car while walking down a highway in 1981, a person who appeared to be homeless, who’d worn several layers of heavy, dirty clothes and weighed just 155 pounds." ...

... CW: If you like mysteries & enjoy reading about how they're unravelled, you should find this a compelling story. ...

... UPDATE. Unsolved Mystery. Washington Post: "Human remains recently exhumed from an Alabama grave are not those of the notorious fugitive William Bradford Bishop, who is accused of killing five family members with a small sledgehammer in Montgomery County in 1976 and setting their bodies on fire, law enforcement officials said Wednesday. The FBI said that DNA taken from the unidentified body in Scottsboro, Ala., on Oct. 9 did not match Bishop, who is a member of the Ten Most Wanted list." Original story further down this column. Thanks to Haley S. for the lead.

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Thursday
Apr192012

The Commentariat -- April 20, 2012

My column in the New York Times eXaminer is titled "The Gospel According to Gutting -- Is Confusing." It's a response to a Times op-ed post by philosopher Gary Gutting. I usually find Gutting informative, but this time he was way off the mark. The NYTX front page is here. You can contribute here.

Quote of the Day. People ask me, ‘Why don’t you guys get together?’ And I say, ‘Exactly how much would you expect me to cooperate with Michele Bachmann?’ And they say, ‘Are you saying they’re all Michele Bachmann?’ And my answer is, ‘No, they’re not all Michele Bachmann. Half of them are Michele Bachmann. The other half are afraid of losing a primary to Michele Bachmann.’ -- Barney Frank (D-Mass.)

Annie Lowrey of the New York Times: "Some of the same spoilers that interrupted the recovery in 2010 and 2011 have emerged again, raising fears that the winter's economic strength might dissipate in the spring."

Evan McMorris-Santoro of TPM: the NRA deleted the Ted Nugent videos from their Website yesterday, in advance of Nugent's meeting with the Secret Service about his incendiary comments. CW: I doubt the NRA has gone all sensitive; they probably just don't want the Secret Service hauling them in for disseminating this crap.

Melissa Russo of NBC New York: a Marist College student pollster calls 911 & saves the life of a woman he phoned who was going into diabetic shock when she picked up the phone.

The Presidential Race

 

It is kinda ironic given that [Mitt Romney's] family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy. Women are not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico. -- Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-Montana), agreeing with a remark by Daily Beast reporter Ben Jacobs

Attacking a candidate's religion is out of bounds, and our campaign will not engage in it, and we don't think others should either. -- Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokesperson

Noam Scheiber of The New Republic on Team Obama's hardball tactics: "... the new ruthlessness is actually a sign of maturity."

Jim Kuhnhenn of the AP: "It isn't Mitt Romney who's giving Barack Obama fits as the president moves into re-election mode. It's those federal bureaucrats carousing in Las Vegas, the Secret Service consorting with Colombian prostitutes and U.S. soldiers posing with bloody enemy corpses. The scandals are taking a toll. They are distracting embarrassments that are dominating public attention while Obama seeks to focus on difficulties abroad and jobs at home. And they are giving Republicans an opportunity to question his competence and leadership, an opening for Romney in a race so close that any advantage might make a difference."

Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: The latest New York Times/CBS poll shows that among registered voters, "President Obama's progressive vision of government trumps Mitt Romney's trickle-down philosophy.... According to the poll, voters clearly believe government should be doing more, not less, to strengthen the economy and the middle-class.... Perhaps the answer is that contrary to conventional wisdom, President Obama is the one would benefit from this campaign being about economic ideas, while Mitt Romney is the one who benefits from trivia and distraction.

Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post: "Just a day after President Obama visited this crucial swing state, Mitt Romney spoke at a shuttered drywall company visited four years ago by then-candidate Obama to make the argument that Obama’s record has yet to live up to his lofty rhetoric.... Romney laid the blame for the company’s fate squarely on Obama.... The company actually shut down in June 2008, months before Obama took office....." ...

... Steve Benen: "Asked about this, Eric Etch-A-Sketch Fehrnstrom [Romney's campaign spokesman] said, 'The fact that [the economy] struggled through the last three years is not the fault of Barack Obama's predecessor; it's the fault of this administration and the failure of their policies to really get this economy going again.' This is simply incoherent for anyone who cares about reality."

David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix catches Mitt Romney in a pretty big Red Sox fib. A misstatement about he Sox did in Massachusetts U.S. senatorial candidate Martha Coakley; could Romney's lie affect the presidential election? I doubt it, but Bernstein's analysis of Romney's patterns of lying (Bernstein IDs two) is an interesting read. ...

... AND Yet Another Romney Lie. Juliet Lapidos of the New York Times: Romney & his spokesman Fehrnstrom are telling the press that Romney won't release more than two years of tax returns because that's all Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry released when he ran in 2004. Only that isn't true. Kerry released between seven & ten years of returns. CW: BTW, I think Kerry & his wife Teresa Heinz are richer than the Romneys, so it's not as if Kerry wanted to release his returns (my recollection is that Heinz -- who keeps her income separate from her husband's -- didn't release her returns).

Michael Tomasky in the Daily Beast: Tom "Friedman and Financial Times columnist Sebastian Mallaby, whom Friedman quoted, and others in the center-left orbit they inhabit genuinely seem to believe that if Barack Obama put a bold and comprehensive tax-reform plan on the table, the Republicans would be forced to respond and negotiate in good faith. But this is pure fantasy. All that would happen would be that Obama would cost himself loads of political capital, and the center of gravity on the subject of taxation would again be pushed to the right. That isn’t just bad for Obama, which is a second-order concern; it would be horrible for the country." ...

... CW: Oh, this is heartbreaking. Ned Martel of the Washington Post on Americans Elect, the sleazy operation that is promoting a third-party candidate. "Last week was supposed to be the first week of online voting on the Americans Elect site, when anyone anywhere could click to endorse practiced politicians or to draft neophytes. But the candidate choices have remained decidedly low-profile, and traffic is meager on the site, which cost $9 million to construct. Scrambling to avert failure, Americans Elect has postponed online voting for a month." Martel, BTW, describes Doug Schoen as a "Democratic pollster; that's like describing Karl Rove as a Democratic operative.

Right Wing World *

Maggie Haberman of Politico: "American Crossroads, the pro-Republican super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove, and its nonprofit affiliate Crossroads GPS, will announce $100 million raised for both so far through the 2012 cycle...."

* Where who screams loudest wins. -- Akhilleus

News Ledes

New York Times: "The police arrested a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters who were lying on a sidewalk at the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street on Friday afternoon after one demonstrator announced that the law allowed them to do so as a form of political protest."

New York Times: "Concluding that racial bias played a significant factor in the sentencing of a man [Marcus Reymond Robinson] to death [in Fayetteville, North Carolina] 18 years ago, a judge on Friday ordered that the convict’s sentence be reduced to life in prison without parole, the first such decision under North Carolina’s controversial Racial Justice Act."

New York Times: "International pressure for a harsher line on Syria escalated Thursday, with the president of France calling the Syrian leader a liar, the American secretary of state moving a step closer to endorsing use of military force, and the head of the United Nations accusing the Syrian government of failing to carry out nearly every element of a peace plan that went into effect a week ago."

Washington Post: David Randall Chaney, "one of the Secret Service supervisors ousted from the agency this week for their involvement in the Colombia prostitution scandal, made light of his official protective work on his Facebook page, joking about a picture of himself standing watch behind Sarah Palin.... Several people familiar with the matter have identified the other supervisor as Greg Stokes, who was assistant special agent in charge of the K-9 division. Stokes has been notified by agency officials that he will be fired, although he will be given an opportunity to contest the charges...."

... New York Times: "The Secret Service's investigation into alleged misconduct with prostitutes by agency personnel in advance of President Obama’s trip to Colombia last week has been expanded to determine if the misconduct was confined to the 11 employees who were first tied to the scandal, according to a senior American official." ...

     ... Update: "The director of the Secret Service has told lawmakers that at least two more members of the agency will be dismissed in connection with alleged misconduct with prostitutes in Colombia last week.... The spokesman for the United States Southern Command in Miami released a statement on Friday saying that the military officer in charge of investigating the alleged misconduct is scrutinizing 11 service members -- one more than had previously been disclosed."

New York Times: "A United States helicopter crashed in bad weather in southern Afghanistan on Thursday after it responded to evacuate Afghan police officers wounded in a suicide attack on a police checkpoint, an Afghan official said. Two Afghan officials said the crash killed four Americans. Late on Thursday, however, NATO confirmed only that one of its helicopters had crashed in southern Afghanistan. It said on Friday that its investigation was ongoing, and would not say whether those on board had been killed nor confirm their nationality." ...

ABC News: "A new photograph obtained exclusively by ABC News showing the bloodied back of George Zimmerman's head, which was taken three minutes after he shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, gives possible credence to his claim that Martin had bashed his head against the concrete as he fought for his life." With video. Linked page links to photo. ...

... AP: George Zimmerman "is asking a Florida judge to let him out of jail while he awaits trial, and legal experts say he stands a good chance of being granted bail at the hearing Friday." ...

     ... New York Times Update: "Speaking publicly for the first time, George Zimmerman ... briefly took the witness stand at his bail hearing on Friday and apologized to Mr. Martin’s parents." The judge set Zimmerman's bail at $150,000, "considerably lower than the $1 million requested by prosecutors."

NEW. Philadelphia Inquirer: "Complaining that he was blindsided while on church business in the Vatican, the bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, W.Va. [Michael J. Bransfield], on Thursday angrily denied trial testimony in Philadelphia alleging that he sexually abused a child during the late 1970s."

AP: "Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik took to the Internet to learn how to carry out a bombing-and-shooting rampage, studying attacks by al-Qaida, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center."

Washington Post: "By noon Friday, Cairo's Tahrir Square ... was packed with Egyptian protesters, promising to be one of the largest demonstrations since the 18-day revolt last year.... The rally was called by liberals to reject the nomination of Mubarak-era figures in the presidential race. But by Friday it had morphed into a rally against the ruling military council and included a cross-section of Egypt's society with differing and competing messages."

CNN: "The U.S. Secret Service said Thursday that it has resolved any questions regarding rocker Ted Nugent, whom its agents interviewed after he said he would be 'dead or in jail' if President Barack Obama were re-elected. 'The issue has been resolved,' and the agency 'does not anticipate any further action,' Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told CNN after the interview."

Reader Comments (9)

Mitt the nit is the perfect source for the truth... that is the truth that religion is not the source of morality. I have been following politics for a very long time. I have never seen a candidate for anything who lies like Romney. It's every day, in every way. And when you hear the Red Sox story it becomes clear that we are dealing with serious mental problems.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarvin Schwalb

Marvin, it appears to me that Romney has a real fear of being irrelevant. He seems to want to join every group, to be an insider in every conversation. A true chameleon, as he seems to be, may be confused to learn that what he considers social graces others consider lies.

When I watch him in the act of blending in, he looks very much like a teenager who feels different than his peers and wants desperately not to be found out. He's like the closeted gay man who talks about "big racks" or the New Jersey transplant to the Deep South who has to use the "n" word more than those around him.

So, it's entirely possible that each "stretch" and outright lie is merely a manifestation of the Romney survival mechanism. Sam Harris's recent extended essay, "Lying," makes the case that honesty is always the best policy because (among other reasons) telling even an innocuous lie makes lying easier in the next tight situation. Lies told then become part of one's own mythology. The truth becomes whatever is appropriate to survive in the moment.

So, Romney tells a hunter that he's also a hunter, although he isn't; he tells a baseball fan that he was at an iconic event, although he wasn't; he tells information-challenged Republicans lies about Obama, not because those lies are true but because it makes his audience feel good.

And when they feel good, they like him. They really like him.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Mahoney

@Jack: Interesting take on the Romney critter. Made me think about those people we contemptuously called "pleasers," so desperate for other's approval, their whole life was a head-nod of agreement.

Being raised in a social/religious environment so far outside the mainstream may have contributed to the urge. His single-minded pursuit, maybe worship, of money (a common Mormon trait) could be seen as the most direct path to acceptance (and power) in an amoral--some would say immoral--capitalist culture. In the what makes Mitt tick category it would also be interesting to know what led him to leave Stanford after his freshman year to return to the Utah womb, just as the anti-Vietnam protests were heating up, a trend I would guess anathema to most of his religious/cultural persuasion.

Finally, Washington Post's Richard Cohen might have said all that needs to be said about Romney's one-a-day lies: in the corporate business culture, lying is standard behavior, hence taken for granted, and Romney keeps saying the wants to run the country like a business, so he's just keeping in practice.

Beyond that, it's another chicken or egg thing. Are the most needy most likely to lie their way to power, or does the prospect of power attract the most needy? Scary either way.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKen Winkes

Apologies for the length--but here's a very partial list of Romney's lies:


1. "The president is planning on cutting $1 trillion out of military spending."
2. "This president has opened up no new markets for American goods 
around the world in his three years, even as European nations and China have opened up 44."
3. "We've got a president in office three years, and he does not have a jobs plan yet.
4. "Our navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917."
5. "Don't forget who it was that cut Medicare by $500 billion. And that was President Obama, to pay for Obamacare."
6. "I went off on my own. I didn’t inherit money from my parents."
7. "While we’ve got $15 trillion of debt, [the president] said, 
 'Look, I’m going to put another $1 trillion of debt for Obamacare.'"
8. "I stood as a pro-life governor.”
9. "I'm concerned about the poor in this country. We have to make 
 sure the safety net is strong and able to help those who can't 
 help themselves. “
10. I’m "someone who's lived in the real streets of America."
11. “[W]hen the president went around at the beginning of his term and apologized for America around the world, it made us just heartsick.”
12. “I’ve still got the same positions on the issues I had four years ago. My record as governor and my positions are pretty darn conservative.”
13. “[At Bain Capital], we helped create over 100,000 new jobs.”
14. President Obama seeks “a ‘European-style welfare state’ to redistribute wealth and create ‘equal outcomes’ regardless of individual effort and success.”
15. “The National Labor Relations Board, now stacked with union stooges selected by the president, says to a free enterprise like Boeing, ‘You can’t build a factory in South Carolina, because South Carolina is a right-to-work state.’ That is simply un-American. It’s political payback of the worst kind.”

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Thanks for the commentary on Willard the Liar. Good theories, all. I do think that Willard is unable to distinguish the difference between the kind of nothing lies that all politicians -- and most of us -- tell & consequential lies. I'm sure when he lied to the pilot about his going to the Rex Sox World Series clincher, it never occurred to Willard that the fib would go any further than the cockpit.

If my eyes hold up, I'm going to my high school class's 50th reunion in a couple of weeks. I'm sure people I don't remember will tell me how much they had been looking forward to seeing me again -- and I'll tell them the same. We'll probably both be lying.

On the other hand, I am not one of the apparently tens of thousands of people who tell people they were at Woodstock when they weren't. So unlike Mitt, I wouldn't claim to have been to a big-deal Sox game I hadn't attended. If I were running against him, I would use his remarks or actions to make him look bad or even worse than he is, but I wouldn't just make up stuff about him out of whole cloth, as Willard does almost daily about Obama. There's a line, and Mitt always crosses it. I don't think he is even aware his lies are "bad behavior." He just writes them off as common & acceptable political expediency or, as Jack Mahoney says, as a means to "fit in." And, yes, this pattern may be partly the consequence of his outsider status.

As for the theory that this is the way all businessmen act, I think Willard went over the line there, too. Several months back, Bill Cohan, who used to write for the Times, wrote an op-ed -- maybe in the Post -- in which he said he had been a Wall Street deal negotiator when Willard was running Bain Capital, and after a few times of dealing with Bain, he cut them out of his Rolodex because the Bain people -- he didn't work directly with Romney -- were dirty, rotten scoundrels. They could not be trusted to keep their word. So even the Street has some standards, and the Romney gang didn't meet them. When you're sleazier than a Wall Street sleaze, you're pretty bad.

April 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterThe Constant Weader

For all the hand wringing conservatives have done over Mittens not being as ideologically pure as they would like, perhaps the biggest thing he has in common with mainstream conservatism of the last decade or more is a pronounced and profound aptitude for lying.

Conservative causes are supported and given life by an unending cascade of falsehoods, half-truths, out of context, alarmist propaganda, and the good old everyday out and out lie.

Truth is too complicated for the simple storylines demanded by Conservative propagandists. An appreciation for the gray areas of life is not something cottoned to easily or willingly by those who control the Right’s mythologies. That’s for progressives, liberals, weenies, and other traitors to conservative rallying points of USA, USA, no taxes, Christian Nation, all regulation is bad, all business is good, war makes us strong, and disdain-if not out and out hate for outsiders.

Just look at the mountainous lies told by every single candidate during the Republican presidential primaries. Gardisil causes mental retardation. No taxes will balance the budget. Obama caused the recession. Global warming is a liberal hoax. Democrats are planning massive voter fraud. Obamacare will cost a trillion dollars. Death panels will let your granny die. Social Security is the source of all economic problems. Medicaid is the source of all economic problems. Obama is forcing gas prices through the roof. Satan is controlling America. Okay, there’s a difference between crazy and lying, but that last assertion, made my Rick Santorum, and many others like it, when mixed in with all the lies, make for a highly noxious and toxic brew.

Had Obama or a Democrat uttered a 10th of those whoppers, the MSM would be in overdrive for a year fact checking and reporting with breathless utterances the perfidious lies shoved down the throats of the American public. Fox would pee its collective pants for months on end.

Even the assertions made by those on the Right, awarded—with no discernible rationale—the soubriquet “serious person”—such as those made by Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, are rife with unsupported claims based on magical thinking and non-existent data. They just make it up, or else take existing numbers and twist them into pretzels.

But, okay, many politicians do crazy things with numbers. The problem with the type of lies from the right is the seriousness and complete falseness of the assertions and assumptions which they use to underpin their public policy decisions. In effect, they say whatever is necessary for them to win an argument, make a point, pass a law favorable to their ideology, and to make sure the other side is buried in a blizzard of lies. Eventually, even those not ideologically wedded to them think there must be something to what they say since the media has never seen fit (or is unable) to call them on any of these things.

Rupert Murdoch yesterday tweeted his sorrows to the world about how everyone is out to get him with lies and libel. Something he knows all about. Recent e-mails have surfaced detailingthe illegal depths to which he has stooped to destroy business competitors and raise up his own fortunes. Of course the Murdoch empire has long benefitted from continual, pathological lying. Just look at Fox.
So Romney’s love affair with fabrications, falsehoods, distortions, and dissimulation puts him deep inside the heart of the modern Conservative movement. He lies as easily as he breathes. And the fact that he lies about things that are easy to check (the Red Sox lie) indicates that, like most Conservative politicians, he’s not worried about ever being caught. In today’s media circus, a Republican telling a lie is about as newsworthy as rain in Seattle. When you have a situation in which a large percentage don’t care and another large group don’t know, it’s open season on the truth.

Romney and his lies could actually win this thing.

Then he’ll be Etch-a-Sketching all of us.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAkhilleus

Call me suspicious but with 3 military scandals including pix,
I smell a republican rat.
This last one happened a few years ago, but the pictures are just coming to light?
I don't doubt they happened- but my money is on dirty tricks.
Mae Finch

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermae finch

I am frustrated beyond measure by the inability or unwillingness of the MSM to unmask even the most simple straightforward lies. Is it laziness? Incompetence? Wrongheaded ideological allegiance to "impartiality"? Sheer corruption? Why is that MSM outlets like CNN and USA Today continually, invariably give the right wingers a free pass to spout whatever they want to make up on the spot or in the back room with their media advisers?

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCalyban

Wheels Up parties are a routine thing when large bunches of Secret
Service agents go abroad. The question is, who made this one an issue. Usually the big hotels keep problems quiet and handle things themselves. Who is behind exposing this party this time. Is it the Columbian Government?. Is it the Columbian opposition? Was there some American group pressing for this exposure. Really, someone had a hand in getting this routine revel to the front pages.

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarlyle
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